Outsider Art by Roger Cardinal 1972. Published by Studio Vista

Book Cover

Outsider Art by Roger Cardinal was the seminal text for introducing Dubuffet’s concept for Art Brut to Britain. It was instrumental in raising awareness of artists such as Madge Gill and for also inspiring new generations of creators. It was the reason, hotly debated today, and not particularly liked by Roger, that we have the term ‘Outsider Art‘.

Roger Cardinal died in 2019, his obituary was published in The Guardian: “In 1972, Roger Cardinal wrote a book intended to bring to an English-speaking audience the French concept of art brut – literally “raw” or “uncooked” art – a term coined by the painter Jean Dubuffet to describe the work of the neurodiverse, then labelled more baldly as “mad”, eccentric or unworldly.https://rawvision.com/articles/roger-cardinal-outsider-art

Cardinal’s own preference, as a book title, was to leave the term as it was. “You’ve got art nouveau and art deco,” he reasoned with his publishers, “and now you’ve got art brut”. The publishers did not agree. After much to-ing and fro-ing, the compromise title agreed on for the book was Outsider Art. It was a term that Cardinal, who has died aged 79, never much liked, but one that attached itself nonetheless to his name.” Click here for the full obituary.